Ahmad Zahid trial: Witness says ordered to sign blank cheques in Yayasan Akalbudi’s name

Former deputy prime minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi  (second left) at the Kuala Lumpur High Court November 18, 2019. — Picture by Hari Anggara
Former deputy prime minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi (second left) at the Kuala Lumpur High Court November 18, 2019. — Picture by Hari Anggara

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 19 — A former member of Yayasan Akalbudi board of trustees, today told the High Court here that Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi ordered him to sign blank cheques in the name of the foundation without being informed the purpose of the cheques.           

Mohd Samsuri Tun, 66, who is now a businessman said he only signed the cheques when told to do so by Ahmad Zahid who is one of the founders of Yayasan Akalbudi.

“In my tenure as a trustee holder of Yayasan Akalbudi, I have pre-signed cheques for foundation, but I did not know the purpose of the cheques.  

“The cheques I signed were blank,” he said when reading a witness statement on the second day trial of the former deputy prime minister who is facing 47 criminal charges involving several million ringgit belonging to Yayasan Akalbudi.

Mohd Samsuri, who was also a former director of Yayasan Akalbudi said he was not involved in whatever activities in the name of the foundation and did not discuss the activities implemented by the foundation with Ahmad Zahid.

“I also did not discuss with Ahmad Zahid about the expenditure to be made and the expenditure made by Yayasan Akalbudi . I was also not referred on the account statement or financial statement of the foundation,” he said when examined by deputy public prosecutor Lee Keng Fatt.

The fourth prosecution witness told the court that he also did not know that Yayasan Akalbudi has millions in its fund as he has no access to the bank statement and the foundation did not table any annual financial statement.          

Mohd Samsuri, who is a schoolmate of Ahmad Zahid and also studied in the same university with him, said he was also ordered by Ahmad Zahid to sign his letter of resignation as a director of Yayasan Akalbudi on April 4 2012.

“I was told to resign as the bank had informed that I was unable to sign Yayasan Akalbudi cheques. I only received the instruction to resign as it was my stand not to be involved and possessed knowledge on the operation and activities of the foundation,” he said.

To a question by counsel Datuk Ahmad Zaidi Zainal who is representing Ahmad Zahid that the resignation was not at the instruction of his client but rather the witness had received a bankrupt notice from the bank: Correct, but Ahmad Zahid is my boss, whatever orders given to me, I will follow. If he said I can resume my post as director without the power to sign cheque, I will accept.

Ahmad Zaidi: You knew if you receive the bankrupt notice, you will not be able to sign cheques. Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid would not ask you to stop if you did not receive the notice.

Mohd Samsuri: Correct.

To another question by Ahmad Zaidi on whether the witness knew the original purpose for the setting up of Yayasan Akalbudi is for charity to assist the people, Mohd Samsuri answered: I am not sure but to my knowledge, the foundation was established to collect funds for UMNO especially Bagan Datuk constituency and for Ahmad Zahid’s the political career.

Mohd Samsuri said he was not aware that Ahmad Zahid held various top posts in several companies including Kretam Holdings Berhad,

Ahmad Zaidi: Do you know in 1986, the share price of Kretam rose from RM1 a unit to RM15.70 a unit.

Mohd Samsuri: Not sure.

The witness also did not know Ahmad Zahid made a huge profit from the share price gain and channel it to Yayasan Akalbudi.

Ahmad Zaidi: Do you know that the monthly income of Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid in 1996 was RM120,000?

Mohd Samsuri: Probably.

Questioned by Ahmad Zaidi whether the witness knew from RM120,000, only RM30,000 or RM40,000 was used for his personal expenses while the balance was credited into Yayasan Akalbudi, Mohd Samsuri replied: Not sure”.

Ahmad Zahid, 66, pleaded not guilty to 47 charges with 12 of them for criminal breach of trust (CBT), eight for corruption and 27 for money laundering involving millions of ringgit in Yayasan Akalbudi funds.

The trial was conducted before Justice Collin Lawrence Sequerah. — Bernama

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